When Street heard that Wharton junior Michael Shephard was developing a “computer techy thing,” naturally, Tech was sent to find out more. We sat down with Shepard and had him explain to us what the hell Lagom is and why we should be using it.
“Basically, we are working with this very simple homepage, and every day, you get a different design, and it's supposed to be very mellow, cleansing, cathartic almost. I think that Penn students are just so…anxious and Type–A and running around all the time and opening up all these tabs on their browsers. This is supposed to be a reminder to take a deep breath and chill out," he explained.
This homepage is super minimalistic, and gives you the bare essentials: date, time and the weather. Shephard explained that he used to have Facebook as his homepage and that he was constantly scrolling and began to hate it. When he changed it to one of his favorite websites, Tech Crunch, he started to despise it as well because he was seeing it so often. Lagom is just a little bit more basic than your average sorority girl, in the best way possible.
Lagom [lá–gohm] is a Swedish word that doesn’t have a direct translation, but Shephard loosely describes it as not too much and not too little—moderation, if you will. The Swedish psyche served as an inspiration for the design of the homepage. “We’re very much about the ethos,” says Shephard.
Shephard describes himself as a “business–vision–marketing manager.” He connects the engineer and the designer. His designer is Rob Levine (C '17). Levine and Shephard met through their fraternity, Theos, freshman year. Levine is a talented designer who does a lot of freelance work and created the user experience. Vivek Panyam (E '16) is the developer of the bunch.
“We never did this to make money or anything; it was a passion project. This was a product me and Rob both wanted, to make this product by ourselves. We may as well release it to the world,” explained Shephard.
The homepage has been in beta for the past few months, but it was finally launched yesterday.
All three of the guys were in different locations during development: Shephard was abroad in Singapore, Levine was abroad in Sweden and Panyam was in Philadelphia.
“It was this crazy shit show of development, with the time changes and everything,” Shephard said.
Throughout our interview, Shephard continued to stress that he and Levine aren’t doing this for profit. Working with a shoestring budget, they truly just wanted to make themselves something to put as their homepage. While he understands the entire world won’t use their product, they want to make it as good as possible for the people who do use it.
“People either like it or don’t; my job is to convince people to give it a shot.” Street’s verdict: We’re already straight chillin' on Lagom.io.
Photo credit: Cody Min